On the third day of the first week of the Great Fast, we meditate upon the First Letter of Saint Paul to Timothy and the words of the Desert Fathers which speak to us of the danger of excessive asceticism.
Jesus comes to offer us mercy and we should be merciful with ourselves, especially in our fasting and abstinance. Real conversion is obtained gradually, through stages, by slowly moving away from bad habits and embracing those that are good. Excessive fasting and asceticism can be both physically and spiritually dangerous, especially if done without the advice of a priest or spiritual director.
Our God is full of patience and understanding, we should strive to have that same patience with ourselves and with others.